Sustaining Our Planet’s Future

Sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs – Brundtland Commission 1983

Priya Anand, the author of this blog, is India Coordinator for Jeevika Trust. She works with Jeevika’s partners to build their capacity to deliver livelihood projects that are innovative & sustainable

It is always a great idea to align ourselves with thought-leaders in whichever field we operate in. With sustainable technologies and methods being truly the need of the hour, Auroville became Jeevika’s training ground.

In 2013, Auroville conducted a customized workshop for our partners from Tamil Nadu and Odisha that focused on sustainability. The workshop enabled our partners to visit innovative alternative livelihood opportunities being undertaken by rural women. Most importantly, it exposed our partners to an alternative style of living that was simple, eco-friendly and enabled people from different communities, religions and countries to live together in peace and harmony.

auroville

Inspired by Auroville, our partners have since implemented environmental activities such as repairing and desilting traditional reservoirs to conserve and recharge ground water, planting mangroves to protect coastlines and prevent soil erosion and have installed smokeless chulhas (stoves) to create smoke-free environments within the home.

Late last year, I received an invitation from Auroville, to the workshop: Exploring a Sustainable Future. It focused on the need to move from being an industrial-growth society to a life-sustaining society and addressed the all-important issue of the impending environmental crisis and concepts of sustaining and rejuvenating planetary resources.

Focused on the individual, the change agent, it gave me an opportunity to revisit Auroville and examine the environmental crisis through concepts of sustainability like water harvesting, waste-water treatment, solar energy, earth construction, organic food cultivation, community-building and wellness. This was done through a mix of classroom sessions, practical demonstrations and site visits that focused on environmental campaigns spearheaded by individuals and non-profit organisations.

india water pollution

The workshop also highlighted the transformative belief in the ‘Power of One’ with audio-visuals of how various individuals – acting singly or in a group through their unwavering commitment and perseverance – have succeeded in bringing about change.

Some key learnings I took away from the workshop were –

  • All of us should have a life purpose of consequence to the world beyond oneself, which brings about a positive change in the world.
  • A small change at an individual level can grow into a empowering project that changes the neighbourhood and/ or a community
  • Be the change you wish to see in the world.

The process of our inner exploration has now begun!

I, as one among them, plan to inspire and work with Jeevika’s partners to continue to integrate interventions that relate to the environment and initiate innovations that are more integral, unifying and comprehensive in their vision and action and provide local, cost-effective solutions. Watch this space!

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